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Real Science at BES

I attended a Loose in the Lab workshop this summer on my own.  It was jam packed with cool hands on science experiments that are kid friendly and classroom proven.  At the end of the workshop, I received a teacher’s lab book and kit with chemicals and other supplies to do these experiments.

Study after study has shown the value of hands-on learning. Students are motivated, they learn more, even their reading skills improve. Science is a process and students need to be actively engaged in the process.  Students in a hands-on science program will remember the material better, feel a sense of accomplishment when the task is completed, and be able to transfer that experience easier to other learning situations. 

The single most important benefit to me is that although it requires a great deal of preparation time, hands-on teaching makes teaching fun. If the kids are learning and having fun doing it, then I am having fun at my job, and we are all happier people overall.

With all that said, “Who has the time to plan and prepare this?” 

I have been blessed by having our PTA President, past room mother, and friend take this over for me and run with it.  Once a week we have a lab.  Tammy Spencer (Professor Oma Osmosis) gets all of the supplies and materials for the experiment, copies and creates student worksheets to go with the lab, and sets it all up.  All I have to do is show up.  She then teaches the lab.  As you can see, the students are engaged and loving it.  Students are motivated to learn and enjoy learning about science.  Their acquisition of skills, communication skills, and independent thinking and decision making skills have improved as well. 

Carol Rankin

Bartlett Elementary School

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Experiments pictured:

 

Owl pellets - Owls are Birds of Prey, which means that they must kill other animals to survive. Their diet includes invertebrates (such as insects, spiders, earthworms, snails and crabs), fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and small mammals.  Owl pellets are masses of bones, teeth, hair, feathers, scales, and insect skeletons. These materials are blocked from reaching the intestines by the pyloric opening thus are regurgitated,    Because owls swallow their prey whole, each pellet contains virtually complete skeletons of the animals the owl ate the day before the pellet was formed. By examining the bones of the animals eaten, the types of animals eaten, and the number of each species, the varied diet of an owl and the type of ecosystem in which it came from can be determined.

 

Dry ice  - Halloween was the perfect time for the oozing, bubbling, dry ice experiments. Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. Instead of melting, dry ice turns directly into carbon dioxide gas but does not melt like real ice. This process is called sublimation.  With carbon dioxide, we were able to inflate a balloon, created “screaming”  tongs, bubbling smoking water, fog, and carbonated a juice drink.

 

Balancing nails - The object of the challenge is to balance all of the nails on the head of a single nail. All of the nails have to be balanced at the same time and cannot touch anything but the top of the nail that is stuck in the base. The trick to balancing the nails has to do with their "center of gravity" or balancing point.

 

Blow up balloon with yeast -  Yeast is a microscopic form of fungus, it is related to mushrooms.  Like us it will eat sugars and react them with oxygen from the air to form water and carbon di-oxide. As the yeast feeds on the sugar, it produces carbon dioxide.  With no place to go but up, this gas slowly fills the balloon.

 Foam Gnome - Half ounces of Poly A and Poly B are mixed together in a plastic cup.  As the two chemicals react, a large pile of hot foam rises out of the cup and quickly hardens.  The kids can see and feel, first hand, indicators of a chemical change; evolution of a gas, release of heat, and a color change.



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